Hospice Rooms Open for Dying Patients

April 19, 1999
News Office: Alice Trinkl (415) 502-6397

In response to an increasing awareness of the needs of dying patients, UCSF Medical Center has opened a Comfort Care Suite exclusively dedicated to end-of-life care.

Although surveys reveal that about 80 percent of patients would prefer to die at home, the majority of Americans still die in hospitals. The goal of the Comfort Care Suite is to provide a home-like environment where trained staff can focus on patient comfort and family members can give support and say their good-byes.

"Hospitals all over the country are recognizing the importance of caring for their dying patients," said Dr. Steven Pantilat, UCSF assistant professor of medicine and director of the Comfort Care Suite at UCSF Medical Center. "Death is part of the process of life. As a hospital, we need to deal with it in a compassionate way."

The two rooms in the Comfort Care Suite resemble birthing rooms more than traditional hospital units. They are quiet and private with furniture, music and warm lighting. Patients and families can use art therapy to express their feelings and children are allowed to visit. A multi-disciplinary team trained in end-of-life care offers psychological and spiritual guidance.